It has been a long convoluted journey, but on Friday the Florida House voted unanimously to legalize 64-ounce growlers for tap room beer sales. The size, a standard in 48 of the United States, has long been a point of contention between craft brewers and some of the state’s distributors and macro-brewers.
“This day has been a long time coming,” House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, said on the floor Friday. “It was a lot harder than it should have been, and a lot of you have lived through this craziness with me.”
The bill, now awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature or veto, also allows breweries to open up to eight tap rooms for customers to purchase beer by the pint as well as fill growlers. Up to today, breweries have been using an exemption in state law meant to encourage tourism – and originally put in place at the request of Anheuser-Busch so that the company’s beer could be served at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Sea World in Orlando, which were owned by the beer giant at the time.
Friday’s passage of the bill (SB 186) ends three years of arguments between craft breweries, mega-breweries and distributors. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and in the House by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Young.